Sunday, 21 October 2018

An introduction to grassland fungi

I was back out again on Tuesday this week, on an 'Introduction to Grassland Fungi' training day at the Kent & Sussex Crematorium, led by Andy McLay from the Natural England Field Unit. Graeme Lyons has already done a really nice write up of the day, here, which is well worth a read.

It's been so dry in Sussex, I was worried we wouldn't find anything. But luckily the waxcaps had just started to appear. I haven't looked at grassland fungi much before, so it was great to see a bunch of different species all on one site and get to see (/ smell / feel) their different characteristics.

From top left (if I've remembered these right): Oily Waxcap Hygrocybe quieta, Snowy Waxcap Hygrocybe virginea, Golden Waxcap Hygrocybe chlorophana, Spangle Waxcap Hygrocybe insipida, Crimson Waxcap Hygrocybe punicea, Blackening Waxcap Hygrocybe conica, Earthy Waxcap Hygrocybe fornicata, Goblet Waxcap Hygrocybe cantharellus, Meadow Waxcap Hygrocybe pratensis.
If you fancy getting into waxcaps, the book to get is 'The Genus Hygrocybe' by Boertmann, now in it's 2nd edition. And if you order it from Summerfield Books it's only £39.50.

I joined Andy and a couple of his colleagues from the Field Unit again on Friday, on a grassland fungi survey in the High Weald.

The farmland site we visited looked very promising, but still very dry. So we didn't find many waxcaps, but we did see this rather splendid Pale Waxcap Hygrocybe pratensis var. pallida.

This Crow Pinkgill Entoloma corvinum another species that's typically found in unimproved grassland was like finding the yin to pallida's yang.

We found a few different Entolomas, which Andy took away to confirm identifications.

This one he thought looked good for Entoloma formosum; with its warm orange tones.

This rather stout mushroom had a mealy smell, suggesting Entoloma prunuloides.

I thought I'd have a go at looking at a few collections myself, until I discovered the Entoloma keys in Funga Nordica run to 59 pages. With hardly any pictures (even by Funga Nordica's standards). Need an easier way in!

In the afternoon we stopped by a churchyard where a number of different waxcap species have been recorded in the past.

We hit the jackpot straight away with this Pink Waxcap Hygrocybe calyptriformis – the Ballerina

(Reckon I should have taken Jens Petersen's advice and used a bit of white paper to reflect some more light up into this shot.)

We found a few different species here, including some nice fresh Pink Domecaps Calocybe carnea.

Gonna need to clear the diary when the rains come, as my appetite for grassland fungi is well and truly whetted.

1 comment:

  1. Amazing haul considering the conditions. It seems wax caps don't need heavy rain to fruit. Sorry could not be there due to transport problem but your blog goes a long way to make up for that.